About the Photographer
My interest in photography dates back to when I was eight years old, when I traded a super-cool dragon kite and 50 cents to my brother for an old Kodak Brownie camera. That same afternoon, my brother came to grief with his newly-acquired kite, smashing it to smithereens in an errant downdraft.
My newly-acquired camera, however, lasted many more years, keeping me (and my family) supplied with a monthly record of the house, the cat, and various other random, uninspired images. I always enjoyed the smell of the roll film as I licked the glued tab shut around the film reel, placed it in the envelop at the drugstore and shipped it off for processing. Then the anticipation over the next several weeks was almost unbearable, waiting for the returned envelope of 12 developed snapshots. Every packet was eagerly reviewed and admired despite the inevitable out-of-focus shots, lighting deficiencies, or images taken at some unfortunately crazy tilt.
Fortunately, my skills matured after I inherited my Grandfather’s Yashica SLR, and then eventually with the purchase of a Pentax K1000, which became my constant companion for nearly three decades. I clung desperately to my film camera until Kodak discontinued its line of 35mm film, eschewing the new-fangled digital technology until the bitter end.
The pressures of regular life, first with college, then my professional career, and finally starting a family, took its toll on my former creative endeavors, relegating to the closet my SLR and bag of lenses, filters, and other attachments. Eventually, for expediency’s sake I was forced to enter the digital age, but in the smallest way possible with a Kodak EasyShare, which allowed me to capture the everyday family activities much like I had 40 years before. Unfortunately, much as before, also emulating my original skill level by producing, embarrassingly often, out-of-focus or tilted images.
Memory fails me now on exactly why I took the plunge, but I finally embraced current technology and purchased a real digital SLR, a Pentax K-3, which I have been using faithfully ever since. Though I miss the intuitive manual nature of my old film cameras, digital photography has opened whole new vistas to me, which I am now happily pursuing.
I am currently living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with my wife Kathleen and son Ethan.
About Beartown Road Design
Never having the confidence, or willing to commit the funds required, I never acted on my interest in photography beyond framing certain images for my own enjoyment, or entering the occasional contest. It wasn’t until an unexpected change in my professional employment status in 2016 that I decided the time was ripe to pursue some formal manifestation of my avocation.
The name of my company, Beartown Road Design, is an homage to my Father’s birthplace, a small poultry farm located on that road, in Painted Post, New York; a location at which I spent many summers with my family while growing up, where I learned to appreciate the subtle beauty of the rolling hills of rural New York.
Part of the original challenge in establishing my place in the community of photographers was to understand the particular niche that I might occupy. Though I have a wide range of interests and enjoyed taking photographs of wide landscape images, I realized that there was little that I could add to the existing photographic record in that area.
Upon considerable reflection, I adopted two taglines for BRD, “Part of a Bigger Picture” and “Look Beyond the Edges.” For me, these two phrases capture the essence of what BRD is all about. Though I spent many years taking photos of grand landscapes, as time went by, I began to notice that my eye was more often drawn to smaller subjects, or rather smaller portions of larger subjects. A larger landscape can be immediately appreciated on its own scale, but I was always looking to the shadows, or the edges, to see what was hidden in, or overwhelmed by, the larger image. Consequently, my current images focus mostly on some smaller detail of a recognizable object or scene, exposing the viewer to the underlying pattern, form, textures, or details that lurk below the surface.
The greater part of my most recent work has emphasized more narrowly-focused images that purposely cut out the overarching view, taking the eye to a relatively smaller area that might tend to be overlooked in a more general observation of the subject.
As part of my personal evolution, becoming increasingly alarmed at what I perceived to be society’s narrowing focus on issues to only that which personally impacts themselves, I also wanted to see if I could combine my visual work with some emphasis on social awareness. I felt that the two aforementioned phrases captured this idea as well.
It was then that I needed to figure out the best vehicles for disseminating my work. I have always enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, but as I have grown older, I have been disappointed in the subjects and complexity of a great many of the puzzles marketed today. Given my desire to integrate my interest in social awareness with unique photographic images, greeting cards and puzzles provide that opportunity, as they allow for the written word to accompany the image.
Consequently, each of my images (in either form) comes with some text focused on the image itself, or its relationship to the series to which it belongs, and then some larger social issue to which it may be related. The idea being that, as any specific image I produce is part of a larger landscape, so are we part of a larger community, and we all benefit from taking a closer look, or looking beyond the edges, to that which is beyond ourselves.